Friday, 11 April 2014

The secret of Germany's "green" energy transition: Coal!

German politicians are often boasting about their Energiewende - energy transition policy - which includes huge subsidies for solar and wind energy. What they usually "forget" to mention, is that almost half of Germany's electricity comes from coal. And that's not going to change very soon.

The BBC has met the head of operations for one of the largest coal mines:

The mine is one of several operated by the Swedish state-owned company Vattenfall and its managers are bullish about the prospects.

In addition to the lignite already earmarked for extraction, they say there are another 1.6 billion tonnes approved for future mining in this area alone and demand remains high.

The head of operations, Uwe Grosser, is polite about the "energy transition" and the advent of renewables but dismisses the idea of a future without coal.

"We're the only ones who deliver constant power. Our power is always there.

"When solar, wind and the renewables are fed into the grid we're the only ones able to adjust our output, that's the only way it's possible to prioritise renewables.

"If they can't provide power. We can. 24 hours a day. 365 days a year."

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